The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the Xfinity Series will head back to Daytona for some Superspeedway racing under the lights. This will be the first race for the MENCS in the 550 HP engines with higher downforce aero package at Daytona. I do not expect a huge change in the racing but it could cause more drivers to lead the race. It should be fun to watch. The Coke Zero 400 can be seen Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
One of the changes this season for the Driver Group Game is that your league commissioner has the ability to change to number of allocations for each driver and can place drivers into any group they choose. My picks will be based on the default settings (8 allocations per driver and the original group settings).
Here are my picks for Daytona…
Driver Group Game A Picks
Joey Logano (4): Logano has been the best driver on the Superspeedways and it is not even close. Logano has finished six of the last seven races on these tracks in the top five. That is outstanding! Qualifying was canceled because of lightning so the No. 22 car will start on the pole and have the No. 1 pit stall. I expect the No. 22 car to lead a lot of laps, score a lot of Stage points and finish in the top 5 again.
Group A Driver Rankings: 1) Joey Logano 2) Brad Keselowski 3) Chase Elliott 4) Kevin Harvick 5) Kyle Busch 6) Martin Turex Jr. 7) Kyle Larson
Driver Group Game B Picks
Alex Bowman (8): I am playing the hot hand and using an allocation with Bowman Saturday night. Bowman has the second-best driver rating on the Superspeedways and the second-best driver rating at Daytona. He finished 11th in February at Daytona and 2nd at Talladega in April. Bowman has the 3rd best average finishing position in the last six races on the Superspeedways so I will roll the dice with the No. 88 car this week.
Ryan Newman (8): Newman is the safest pick in the field Saturday night. He is absolutely the best driver at staying out of trouble. In the last eight races on the Superspeedways, Newman has completed 1,502 of 1,502 and he has a 9.8 average finishing. Are you kidding me!! In the last 17 races on the Superspeedways Newman has ZERO DNFs!! I hope I did not just jinx him. I will play it safe with Newman this week.
Group B Driver Rankings: 1) Alex Bowman 2) Ryan Newman 3) Denny Hamlin 4) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 5) Ryan Blaney 6) Kurt Busch 7) Erik Jones 8) Clint Bowyer 9) Jimmie Johnson 10) Daniel Suarez
Driver Group Game C Picks
Michael McDowell (7): McDowell may be the most underrated driver at Daytona. He has the fourth-best average finishing position and the sixth-best driver rating in the last five races at Daytona. McDowell has finished six of his last seven races at this track in the top 15. That includes a fourth place finish in the 2018 Coke Zero 400. It sucks that he starts so deep in the field but he should be able to work his way to the front rather quickly.
Group C Driver Rankings: 1) Michael McDowell 2) Matt DiBenedetto 3) Ty Dillon 4) David Ragan 5) Chris Buescher
Driver Group Game Team
Group A: Joey Logano (4)
Group B: Alex Bowman (8), Ryan Newman (8)
Group C: Michael McDowell (7)
*Stats from Driveraverages.com and career stats from Racing-Reference.Info…
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Good luck this week!